How & When Google Becomes One Of Your Biggest Rivals In The SERPs



Search engine optimizers are always in the mindset that their competition is made up of rival websites and businesses who offer the same set of products and services that they do. As such, any top-rated SEO company often directs its SEO efforts towards defeating the competition by launching campaigns and strategies that will keep their clients ahead in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page’s).

The problem is, a website’s competition is not limited to the companies, brands and individuals who are also sharing the same customer set. Sometimes Google itself is a prominent competition in the search results.

What’s The Problem

The bigger problem here is how to deal with the fact that even if you trumped your competition in the SERPs, Google is still keeping your site beneath the fold. There are some who don’t consider this as a very big problem; after all, there are also users who do not pay attention to the Adwords advertisements along the side and on the top of the page, and would rather begin their search in the organic results. This benign regard of the situation may have an adverse effect in the future though.

Consider the very first SERP for travel-related keyword searches, for example, “Las Vegas tours”.


Above the fold results for “Las Vegas tours” don’t include the organic search results.

Even below the fold, a very big portion of the SERP is still occupied by Google’s Travel Box and local listings. And if your site is not above the fold, only 20% of the searchers will scroll below. This becomes a disadvantage when the limited space pushes your website below the fold or to the second results page – because let’s face it, a large number of Internet users don’t bother going beyond the first SERP when searching for information online.

When this happens, there’s pretty much nothing much you can do about the paid advertisements Google boxes that appear in the SERPs. It’s also difficult to compete with major brands since they are considered authorities in your niche.

What You Can Do To Rank In SERPs

What you can do is concentrate on keeping your SEO efforts consistent in pushing your website forward (and make sure all the other factors meet Google’s ranking criteria, such as link profile and content quality). One thing you have to closely monitor is the keyword you’re trying to rank in. Consider three important things:

1. How Users Use Your Keyword In Searches

You need to be working on keywords that are commonly used by users on search engines and not just the ones that accurately describe your product or services. The point of ranking for a keyword, after all, is to appear on the SERPs when users are looking for results on certain keywords—and if you fail to get hits on those keywords and put more effort instead on the least-used ones, your SEO efforts will be in vain.

2. How Google Treats The Keywords Your Website Aims To Rank In

Sometimes Google automatically corrects the keyword searches (i.e. generating results for plural forms, similar-sounding words, synonyms, and words that it assumes to be the correct spelling of the original keyword search). You’ll find that in most cases, the simple addition of an “s” will alter the search results entirely. This can also mean the difference between being seen and not being seen in the SERPs!

3. How Google Treats City/Town Specific Keywords

Often when the name of a city or town figures in your keyword, you will have to face competition from Google local searches. In such a scenario it’s a good idea to adopt a two-pronged approach:

  1. Focus on alternative long tail keywords that are not city/town specific
  2. Create your own places listing, work on your overall SEO and optimize your website for local keywords to boost its ranking in local searches.

Aiming high is good, but aiming too high could be foolishness. If Google is your competitor in SERPs, your best bet is to look for alternative strategies. Other than the ones listed above, you must also work towards improving your brand value and putting concentrated effort on different platforms for attracting traffic including, social networks, social sharing sites and Guest blogs on high authority niche sites.

About Emma-Julie Fox

Emma writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America. You can learn more by following her on Twitter or Google+.